Research Papers:

The orally active and bioavailable ATR kinase inhibitor AZD6738 potentiates the anti-tumor effects of cisplatin to resolve ATM-deficient non-small cell lung cancer in vivo

Frank P. Vendetti, Alan Lau, Sandra Schamus, Thomas P. Conrads, Mark J. O’Connor and Christopher J. Bakkenist _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:44289-44305. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.6247

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Frank P. Vendetti1, Alan Lau2, Sandra Schamus1, Thomas P. Conrads3, Mark J. O’Connor2, Christopher J. Bakkenist1,4

1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

2Cancer Bioscience, AstraZeneca, Macclesfield, United Kingdom

3Women's Health Integrated Research Center at Inova Health System, Department of Defense Gynecologic Cancer Center of Excellence, Annandale, VA, USA

4Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Correspondence to:

Christopher Bakkenist, e-mail: bakkenistcj@upmc.edu

Keywords: ATM and Rad-3-related (ATR), ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM), cisplatin, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), DNA damage response

Received: August 07, 2015     Accepted: October 14, 2015     Published: October 27, 2015


ATR and ATM are DNA damage signaling kinases that phosphorylate several thousand substrates. ATR kinase activity is increased at damaged replication forks and resected DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). ATM kinase activity is increased at DSBs. ATM has been widely studied since ataxia telangiectasia individuals who express no ATM protein are the most radiosensitive patients identified. Since ATM is not an essential protein, it is widely believed that ATM kinase inhibitors will be well-tolerated in the clinic. ATR has been widely studied, but advances have been complicated by the finding that ATR is an essential protein and it is widely believed that ATR kinase inhibitors will be toxic in the clinic. We describe AZD6738, an orally active and bioavailable ATR kinase inhibitor. AZD6738 induces cell death and senescence in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines. AZD6738 potentiates the cytotoxicity of cisplatin and gemcitabine in NSCLC cell lines with intact ATM kinase signaling, and potently synergizes with cisplatin in ATM-deficient NSCLC cells. In contrast to expectations, daily administration of AZD6738 and ATR kinase inhibition for 14 consecutive days is tolerated in mice and enhances the therapeutic efficacy of cisplatin in xenograft models. Remarkably, the combination of cisplatin and AZD6738 resolves ATM-deficient lung cancer xenografts.

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